Emergency response teams recognized
On Monday, March 11, proclamations were presented to the Burlington County Central Communication Center, the Mt. Laurel Police Department, the Mt. Laurel Emergency Medical Services, the Mt. Laurel Fire Department and Virtua Health Systems Paramedics for five emergency response cardiac arrest saves from Dec. 30 to Jan. 15.
Township manager Maureen Mitchell said the proclamations were given to these emergency response teams to show the township’s “sincere appreciation” and to commend their efforts.
Burlington County Central Communications receives all emergency calls, medically screens them, dispatches the appropriate personnel and sometimes provides instruction for the callers before emergency crews arrive at the scene, Mitchell said.
The Mt. Laurel Police and Fire Departments are equipped with AEDs, oxygen and medical supplies, Mitchell said. Both response teams are dispatched to all life-threatening situations.
According to Fire Chief John Colucci, the department’s employees receive CPR certification and are certified EMTs. Fire department members are also trained quarterly on AED machines.
“We are first responders. So all of the career staff are EMTs,” he said, adding some volunteers are EMTs.
He said when the fire department receives a dispatch call from the county regarding a cardiac arrest, police, fire and EMT units will be called to the emergency.
Colucci said since Mt. Laurel is a large town, dispatching all units increases the odds of survival.
He said the timeframe to get to a cardiac arrest victim should be three to five minutes after the call. If one unit arrives at the scene before another, they will perform CPR and administer preliminary treatment until the proper medical personnel arrive to administer treatment.
“When the medics get there, they are able to do advanced life support,” he said.
Colucci said it all depends on the situation. Sometimes CPR must be administered via dispatch.
“Hopefully when somebody has an arrest there is a co-worker or family member around to initiate CPR,” he said.
According to Colucci, early intervention for a cardiac arrest and the Chain of Survival, defined by the American Heart Association, are important.
The Chain of Survival can improve the chances of recovery of a heart attack, stroke and other emergencies, Mitchell said in an email.
The elements include, immediate recognition of a cardiac arrest and activating an emergency response system, early CPR, rapid defibrillation, effective advanced life support and integrated post-cardiac arrest care, according to the American Heart Association.
Colucci said he wasn’t really surprised about the proclamations from the council. He said the township and emergency response teams have a good working relationship, but it is uplifting to be recognized.
“It’s good to have a positive outcome every once and a while,” Colucci said.